Day 27 – First 20 miler of the year

My rather hastily scheduled training plan had me down as doing twenty miles today, despite doing a XC race yesterday. At six o’clock last night with legs pretty stiff I wondered the wisdom of attempting such a run, so I had a few glasses of red wine to aid the recovery.

I woke surprisingly fresh, and after an hour or so to consume breakfast and allow the worst of any ice in the ground to melt slightly, I headed out on a cold and frost covered morning – probably the coldest morning of the winter so far – which says little about our winter except how warm its been as it was barely below zero.

To my surprise I felt pretty sprightly from the off, and apart from having to be quite careful on some icy patches I was running far more freely than I’d expected. I was thinking that if I had a good run is average 07:40 per mile; I went through the first mile in 07:30, the second in 07:14 and the third in 07:02. I was on a good one.

The opening miles were slightly uphill on the A607, but that stretch of road feels quick in either direction. What was more pleasing that the run up from Denton to Knipton retained the pace and even when I’d reached Belvoir at nearly 460 feet (I began the run at 170 feet) I felt fresh and it all felt easy.

Dropping down into Woolsthorpe the average was spot on seven minutes. I’d turned to face a slight headwind which wasn’t strong enough to slow but sure was cold. Onto the Grantham Canal and I went through a half marathon in 1:31. The next four miles on the canal were the hardest of the run – it’s a little uneven in places underfoot and with numerous puddles turned to ice I was frequently chopping and changing my stride. I even managed to slightly twist an ankle near the end of the canal; thankfully the pain quickly subsided.

Leaving the canal I’d covered 16.5 miles and I knew I’d have to do a little running around the houses to bring the distance up to twenty. This can be a little self destroying but thankfully I found myself feeling the best I’d done at any point in the run – knocking off the miles in comfortably under seven minutes.

I arrived home having covered 20.3 miles at an average of 06:57 per mile. An excellent first real long run of the year and bodes well hopefully for the weeks to come.

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